Learning how to cry and time travel.

I was walking on the familiar uneven pavement streets which I called home for the past three months, with an oat milk latte in one hand and a banana loaf in the other, with Clare de Lune on my Airpods playing on repeat, as I made my way to my final 1-on-1 boxing session at Cambridge. I noticed I was crying…

It’s happening again. This is my fourth time studying abroad. I cried when I left Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. And now Cambridge.

The sudden realization that this might very well be my last time getting the latte + loaf combo at my go-to cafe, Espresso Lane, individually run by this very kind gentleman who taught me bits of British culture during my stay. He gave me my final order today for free, for being a good customer. He deserves all the happiness in the world.

In a weird and “totally not” psychopathic way, I enjoy crying. I often do it alone because of a deep-rooted childhood experience when I was told boys shouldn’t cry. Anyways, the experience makes me realize that I am alive, making me aware of my body and the bizarre concept of emotions, and tears are the product. Weird.

My tears are a result of nostalgia and sorrow for having to say goodbye, mixed with the happiness that I was able to go through these experiences.

At my boxing session, my coach made sure to give me a great final workout. I ended up doing 16 boxing rounds, and 200 burpees in total in between the rounds. He also made sure to get a good final head and body jab to remind me of this great quote:

“Everyone has a plan until they’re punched in the face.” I might have a video of me getting hit – I will look to post that one day.

If you’re reading this, I want to thank you. I have always felt a weird ambivalence toward advertising my blog because frankly, this blog started as a personal diary of sorts and on most occasions can contain some of the most vulnerable parts of my life. That ambivalence is immediately expelled when I realize that the type of people who make the effort to read my mundane writing is also the type of people I care about and appreciate being in my circle.

I want to share with you a life philosophy I’ve been trying to apply to my life as I combat the dramatic emotions I have about saying goodbye to the past. Read on further and I will teach you how to time travel.

Well, not actual time travel. But let’s say you could time travel. And you are forced to use it every day. At the end of every day, you are forced to re-live that same day largely the same way. You do the same things, with a small nuance: the second time you re-live that day, you pause and notice the tiny, infinite beauties of life. The pavement you are walking on was made by someone potentially hundreds of years ago. Their work has impacted so many. Notice the beautiful architecture, and the little homes, and the people (overview effect). The clouds shifting. The hum of life. Feel your breath. Feel your heart. Talk to yourself. Tell yourself how powerful you are. With extra dramatic effect, listen to Claire de Lune. It is my favorite classical piece, by far, and I’ve never had the same experience as I do with this song. It makes me feel so much emotion, both anguish, and joy.

Unfortunately, we can’t do real-time travel. But I want you to just try this technique because I have felt it is so liberating. Pretend that the days that so quickly pass by us as it has in the recent years, pretend that you specifically time-traveled back to this day to re-live. Allow yourself to feel your emotions pour through. Your heartbeat. This is what it feels like to be alive, and to be in the moment.

I’m not sure if this off-brand time travel technique will cure my nostalgic depression, but I think it will help me live in the moment more and not be too sad about the past. Because, well, I specifically traveled back in time to re-live today. And I am so happy that I am here.

Thank you for coming to my Ted-Talk and for indulging my dramatic overthinking. There are over 7 billion people in this world, and it always feels good to be heard.

Should we separate the art from the artist?

Watercolor of St. Charles's Church in Vienna by Adolf Hitler

Should we separate the art from the artist?
 
Separate the player from the game?
 
The inventor from his creations?
 
Steve Jobs was an asshole.
 
Michael Jordan trash talked everyone. So did Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Shaq.
 
Chris Brown hit Rihanna.
 
It’s actually quite a relevant topic. Particularly in today’s age, where the ethics of a person are more under the spotlight, as well as the increasing demand for quality art.
 
I personally think: yes. We should.
 
A good painting is a good painting regardless of the creator.
 
But the answer to this question isn’t as simple as just “yes”
 
Because if we separate the art from the artist, then it also means that the art cannot justify the actions of the person.
 
Just because Steve Jobs invented the iPhone, doesn’t mean we can let him get away from being an asshole.
 
The iPhone is amazing. And if Steve Jobs as not particularly kind to Apple employees, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Jobs pioneered the smartphone industry with the iPhone. Give credit where credit is due–but also realize that it doesn’t negate the fact of Jobs’ demeanor.
 
If you like Chris Brown’s music, then sure. You can like his music, separate from the person.
 
I dislike Kevin Durant as a person, but I have to admit that he is one of the greatest basketball scorers the NBA has ever seen. Respect the player, but not the person.
 
Let’s say we don’t separate art from the artist. Tied together, it allows for way too many inconsistencies.
 
Does good art justify the person? Or, does a quality human being justify his art?
 
I’m sorry but in the face of creativity, regardless of how good of a person the artist is if his art is not good, it is just not good. We must separate the art from the artist.
 
Good art is good art. But good art DOES NOT justify the creator to use his art as an excuse to be anything less than a quality human being.
 
Good people are good people. But the goodness of a person does not suddenly make his art good.
 
To summarize: I agree that art should be separate from the artist. This way, we can respect good art, without respecting the creator, and we can respect the creator even if his art is bad.
 
What do you think?
 
Also, the cover photo of this blog post is a painting by none other than Hitler. If only Hitler pursued his art, rather than his other endeavors…
 
P.S. If I am completely crazy, please let me know. I genuinely want to know what you think and I encourage insightful debate and discussion.